Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Road Trip Tip #1: Binkie Saver

We've been a few long road trips in the last couple of months, plus it's an hour to get to the closest Home Depot or Lowes which means that we've been in the car a lot lately.  My baby guy still has his binkie (and I have good intentions of getting rid of it soon, but it's kind of a sanity saver with lots of road trips, so he'll get it a little while longer).  Anyway...he's always dropping his binkie on the floor always on the side that no one can reach.  

This week I went on a long drive with just two of us and I was a bit worried about him not having his binkie.  I didn't want to stop every ten minute to pick it up.  Then my friend, Angela shared her great idea with me.  

Here it is.  Are you ready?

* Tie the binkie to the car seat strap with a string. *

Toddlers can't get the knots undone.   It's genius and was a life saving idea!  

When my babies were little I used the binkie straps that clip onto their clothes, but the older the babies get the easier they can pull the strap off.  They can't get the string undone though.

It bugged my baby guy that he had a string on his binkie, but he eventually got over it.  He knew that he could look down and find the string and that his binkie would be at the end of it.  

My baby guy and I survived (and maybe even enjoyed) a 4.5 hour drive with zero binkie dropping and losing!  Amazing.

Forgive my fuzzy cell phone pictures that I snapped at while stopped at a stoplight.  Probably not the best time/place to be taking pictures.  

I'll be posting a few more of our family road trip tips soon.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Week 284 Menu

This week's menu and menu planning post is going to be short and sweet.  Then I can get back to this...
Menu time...(recipes can be found on my Ultimate List of DInner Ideas page)

Monday:  leftovers from the weekend, taco soup and perfect pot roast

Tuesday:  french dip

Wednesday: marinated chicken tinfoil dinners

Thursday:  easy night

Friday:  grill something

Saturday:  easy night

Sunday:  breakfast burritos

That's what we're having this week.  How about you?  What's on your menu this week?


Monday, July 14, 2014

Week 283 Menu

Hi everyone!   This post is going.to be a "what we ate last week" kind of menu post.  Because it's summer and it's been a little busy.   :)

Last week we did a little salsa eating,  birthday crepe breakfast enjoying, Netflix watching while mom works on projects and stilt walking.  

Here's what we what we actually ate last week...if I can remember right.

Monday: breakfast for dinner

Wednesday:  pizza

Friday:  chicken sandwiches

Sunday: leftovers

My four your old turned five last week, so we had some pirate birthday cake too. 

All righty...your turn.  Feel free to share your menu for this week or take the easy way out like me and share what you actually ate last week. 

Have a great week! 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Visiting San Diego: Part Two

We went on vacation to San Diego a couple of weeks ago.  It was my first time there and we had a great time.  Before we went, I googled things to do in San Diego and talked to my friends that had been there to figure out the best places to go see.  This is part two of my post.  See part one about Legoland, the zoo and beaches here.

Here a few of the other things that we did.

Sea World
Going to Sea World was kind of a last minute decision.  We went in the afternoon at 2:30 and stayed until 8:30 or 9:00.  In the end we had fun, but I would have rather spent the money elsewhere.  My daughter liked the roller coasters at SeaWorld.  We enjoyed seeing some of the sea life, especially the penguins, sharks and beluga whales.  The kids liked the dolphin and killer whale show.  We didn't go on all the rides, since the wait for some was a crazy long time.

San Diego Mormon Battalion Historical Site
 Visiting the Mormon Battalion HIstorical Site was one of my favorite things we did in San Diego.

It's located in Old Town and tours are given by sister missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Even if you're not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I recommend visiting this.  The site was remodeled five years ago, so if you haven't been there since then, you should go again.  It's free, fun, really well done and teaches a lot about the settling of San Diego.

You go on a 30 minute guided tour and travel with the pioneers from Iowa to San Diego.  The kids get to dress up like soldiers, sit on rocks that shake and rumble during the Battle of the Bulls, and learn about a few people that made the trek.  At the end of the tour the kids can pan for gold, learn how to wash clothes with a washtub, and see how they made bricks.  My kids loved it.

You also get your picture taken with your family.  They print out a copy of the picture for you to keep and you can email it to yourself.  And it's free (unlike most things in San Diego)!

Old Town

My kids didn't even want to walk through Old Town because it couldn't compare with what they just saw at the Mormon Battalion Site.  We stayed in Old Town for five minutes.  I've heard that it's fun to eat at one of the restaurants.

San Diego LDS Temple

The San Diego temple is right off the freeway.  It's beautiful, especially at night.  My kids love to visit temples wherever we vacation.  It's a beautiful, peaceful place.

Downtown San Diego

We ate downtown one evening, so afterwards we walked around.  The kids loved walking by the huge USS Midway.  They have some fun statues to take picture with that pay tribute to soldiers.

Where we stayed:

We spent most of the time in the Courtyard by Marriot by the Marina and the Navy Base.  It was a beautiful setting and a great location.
It was 10 minutes to almost everywhere, expect Legoland is a bit more north.  There was a great path that went right along the water, a huge park to the north of the hotel with a really fun playground.  Within a five minute walk you could get to Panera Bread, Five Guys and Trader Joes.  It was ten minutes to lots of other restaurants and a Target.  It was also about ten minutes to the beach and Sea World.

My kids loved the pool and wanted to swim all the time.  There isn't a breakfast, but they have a little fridge, so we just bought milk and cereal and ate in our room.  I would definitely stay there again.

We spent a few nights at a Hampton Inn in Del Mar.  Not the nicest Hampton Inn that I've stayed in, but it wasn't bad.  It's a short drive to the beach and lots of restaurants.

Side note...I don't recommend staying at the Embassy Suites in Phoenix.  We booked a night at one because we've had great experiences at Embassy Suites wherever we've traveled.  But this one in North Phoenix was a dump.  It is a motel, not a hotel and is not up to par with other Embassy Suites.  The breakfast was good, but I wouldn't stay there again.  We were going to move to another Embassy Suites in Tempe, but read reviews that it wasn't much better.

So, that's it!  My first trip to San Diego.  What about you?  Have you been there?  What are your favorite spots in San Diego?


Monday, June 30, 2014

Week 282 Menu

Hi friends!  Happy Monday!  Can you believe it's the 4th of July this week?  The summer is flying by.

We have our first wildfire burning close enough that we have to smell and see the smoke.  Brings back bad memories of the summer three years ago when we had a fire burning close enough to our little town that we had to evacuate and then breathe smoke for months afterward.  Ugh.

Do you have fun plans for the 4th of July?  I got to play patriotic hymns on the organ at church yesterday.  Playing the Star Spangled Banner with the pedals is easier this year than it was last year.  Kind of fun!

Here's a happy thing...my little baby guy just started playing with cars and trains.  I'm so happy!  He hasn't really played with toys very much in his life.  He just toddles around and plays with big people stuff.  He also discovered baby dolls too.  Super cute.

If you're feeling crazy today, will you click on one of the ads on the sidebar of my blog?  I feel kind of silly posting about this.  I obviously don't blog to make money and I make a minuscule amount each day (like seriously a few cents), but with ad clicks I get a little more, like $0.50 per click.  I know ads are really annoying, but I do like how the ads know what you've been searching, so my ads are usually for The Children's Place or something that I've bought recently on Amazon.  Anyway...I'd love to have a giveaway for my #300th menu, so we'll see if some ad clicks add up.  Thanks friends!

My hubby was on travel for a few days last week, so I didn't stick to my menu very well.  The kids requested puffed oven pancakes for dinner one night and orange chicken for dinner another night.  This week has a few repeats from last week.

Menu time...

Monday:  chicken fajitas

Tuesday:   crockpot fauxtisserie chicken and fingerling potatoes

Wednesday: broiled parmesan tilapia, simple orzo pilaf

Thursday: chicken tetrazinni

Friday: 4th of July! we'll grill something

Saturday:  sesame chicken salad

Sunday:  crockpot ham, potato casserole, one hour rolls, salad

Hopefully I'll finish my last post about our trip to San Diego.  Click here for part one.

Have a great week friends!   I'd love to hear what you're planning for dinner this week or for your 4th of July BBQ.  Feel free to share.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Visiting San Diego: Part 1

Last week my family went on a trip to San Diego.  I'd never been there before, so it was really fun for me.  My kids love to go visit the ocean so we had a great time.

Since I hadn't been there before I did some searching online of things to do in San Diego and talked to friends that had been there.  I thought I'd share with you our favorite things that we did there just in case you haven't been.

  • Mission Beach:  has a boardwark and an amusement park, the beach itself had a lot of seaweed on the sand, lots of free parking 
  • La Jolla Beach:  we went there in the evening and walked along the beach.  Nice and clean.  Big parking lot.
  • Powerhouse Beach:  father north in Del Mar, very clean, we went there a few times, park for free in the neighborhoods or pay for lots or streets, saw three dolphins swimming in the water


Legoland was the most anticipated place we went by my kids, especially my almost five year old.  I'd go again, but maybe when my baby is 42" tall. 

I haven't been to many amusement parks in my life, so this was a new experience for me.  No, I still haven't been to Disneyland and I'm 30-something.  Someday we'll go.

Here's what my kids thought of Lego Land.
  • Daughter (10 years old) - liked all the rides, but thought they were kind of tame.  I think she's kind of growing out of it.
  • Son #1 (8 years old) - gets motion sick and preferred building lego cars and racing them than going on rides. 
  • Son #2 (almost 5) - is 42" tall so he could go on all the rides if he had an adult with him.  He loved building lego race cars and the driving school where you get to drive a car.
  • Son #3 (18 months) - was too short (need to be 36") to go on most rides.  He loved the duplo village.  He did a lot of sitting in the stroller waiting for the other kids.
  • Lego Mindstorm:  if your child is 9 or in 3rd grade they can sign up to play with Lego Mindstorm sometime during your visit.  Signup when you get there and they'll give you a time to come back and play.  My older kids thought it they were awesome!
  • Mini figure trading:  my kids loved this.  They each brought a mini figure from home and traded them with any employee that had a mini figure on their badge.  My daughter got some cute girl lego people.
  • Food:  Legoland technically doesn't allow you to bring your own food, but they didn't check our stroller.  We brought stuff for sandwiches and snacks.
  • Hours:  Their summer hours started the day after we visited.  The gates open at 9:00 and some of the attractions start at 9:30 and everything is open at 10:00.  They closed at 6:00, but their summer hours start mid June and they stay open later.
  • We didn't pay extra for the water park or aquarium.  We barely had time to ride everything in Legoland as it was.  One day visit was plenty for us.  I think the kids would have been worn out if we did a two day pass.

San Diego Zoo
I was really excited to take my kids to the zoo.  My daughter loves pandas and couldn't wait to see their giant pandas.  My kids were dragging most of the day and asking to go swimming at the hotel.  In the end they had fun. 

The kids especially loved riding the tram across the park, except my baby who was trying to climb out and yelled the whole time.

We packed a lunch and left it in the car.  At lunchtime we had a picnic on on the grass next to the zoo in Balboa Park.

All right...this post is getting long.  Look for part two of our trip coming soon...